Mother’s Day is just a few days away. If you haven’t already done so by now (and you know you should have), you’re about to purchase a nice gift, along with the bouquet of flowers, candy and cards designed to express in one day all the love you have for the person many of us take for granted during most of the other 364 days of the year. That’s okay. Most will appreciate the gifts and will love you just the same. That said, cards are eventually discarded (or stored away in the limbo of attics and basements), candy is eaten (most of it by you, likely as not) and flowers will wilt and die. (Please tell me you didn’t buy plastic ones.)
As for the gifts, Mom will likely be thrilled with the clothes, shoes, jewelry and night out at that fancy restaurant you have planned for her. (You’re not really going to let her cook, are you?) However, your mother has probably spent your entire life investing in you. Mother’s Day is a great time to return the favor, by thinking of gifts that will not just celebrate her for the day, but that will literally enrich her life. Here are a few of my suggestions for gifts to help Mom build wealth for Mother’s Day:
Pay her bills. You’ve been running up her bills most of your life (she was right, you don’t own the electric company). How about you paying all of her bills—including the rent or mortgage, utilities, and even her credit card payments—for the month of May? If this is too much to handle on your own, recruit your siblings and others who love your momma as if she were their own to chip in. Or pick the biggest monthly bill, and pay that. Or pick a credit card and pay down the entire balance. Whatever you can imagine and your budget can handle. Six months from now, what do you think she’ll find to be the more memorable gift?
Pay for a consultation with a certified financial planner. Chances are, while she was focusing all her energy and planning around providing for you, your mom was neglecting herself, including her finances and especially her retirement planning. Setting up and paying for a meeting with a financial planner is a great way to let her know you want her to focus on taking care of herself for a change.
Husbands, show her the money. And the insurance policies, wills, deeds, credit reports and tax filings. Don’t stop at what, but also show her where they are, in case she needs them in an emergency. Few things are sadder than a grieving widow beset with financial disaster because she doesn’t know where insurance polices and other key paperwork is, how to deal with tax issues, or even how to access bank accounts. Every day, women who left such things to their husbands are caught out there when he suddenly dies. It is a major act of love to give her the security of knowing that should she suddenly lose you, not only have you provided for her, but she knows exactly where to look to access those provisions, including account numbers, passwords, insurance policies and other important documents, when she needs them most.
By the way, none of these gifts will get you off the hook. Mom still deserves flowers, candy, a little shopping, to be wined and dined, and to be generally treated like the queen she is on Mother’s Day. However, helping her to build wealth and gain a measure of financial security is a priceless gift—one that you’ll appreciate receiving from your children some day. Establishing Wealth for Life as a Mother’s Day tradition today could pay off big for you tomorrow.
This blog is dedicated to my thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership, mentorship and other things I need to get #OffMyChest. Follow me on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.